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Carnival Pleads Guilty; Fined $18 Million for Lying About Ocean Pollution

Carnival Cruise Lines agreed to pay an $18 million fine after pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Miami, FL, to 6 felony counts for lying about illegally discharging oily bilge wastes into waters off Florida and the Caribbean. The fine is split into a $9 million criminal fine—the largest ever paid by a cruise line operator for environmental violations—and another $9 million for community service dedicated to environmental preservation. In addition, Carnival was placed on 5 years’ probation, must establish an environmental compliance department, and hire executives and boat personnel to enforce treatment programs. Carnival admitted that its operators schemed from July 1998 and January 2001 to evade the permissible discharge limits and falsified its Oil Record Book, a record of the treatment and discharge of wastes that must be presented to the U.S. Coast Guard after voyages. This was a joint investigation by OIG, EPA, FBI, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs Service, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection.